Although early-voting numbers are unprecedented across the country and state, not everyone in Minnesota has cast their ballots already or wants to. As usual, thousands of residents in the state will travel to their polling places on Election Day, now just four days away.
Those Tuesday voters should be confident that Minnesota election officials are ready for them.
Public health procedures will be in place to make voting during the COVID-19 pandemic as safe as possible, including the requirement of wearing masks, social distancing and the availability of hand sanitizer.
All voters at the polls need to respect the protocols put in place to protect everyone — and be patient. Those election judges are going above and beyond to make voting as safe as possible.
The additional choices and easier accessibility of voting this year have been made possible because of the pandemic. Those choices will be available up to and on Election Day. County election officials are expanding ballot drop-off times.
In Mankato, Blue Earth County residents can drop off ballots on weekdays, including until 3 p.m. Tuesday at the historic courthouse.
Blue Earth County voters can also access early voting locations at 15 Map Drive (former MRCI building) or 204 South Fifth St. (Historic Courthouse) in Mankato. Hours for the locations are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.
The Nicollet County Government Center in St. Peter also will be open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday for absentee voting or to drop off completed ballots. Ballots from any mail-ballot precincts in the county also may be dropped off 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at Lafayette City Hall.
The mail is no longer an option for ballots for Tuesday’s election, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said Thursday evening following a court ruling that has thrown a wrench into his plans to accept late-arriving mailed ballots, the Pioneer Press reported.
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, that’s not a problem. Minnesota offers same-day registration, and election judges at every polling place can guide you through the process. The Secretary of State’s Office outlines the accepted forms of identification at mnvotes.org. The same site can help you find your polling place.
Minnesota requires employers to allow voters paid time off to vote, so having to work is no excuse for not doing your civic duty.
Despite the anticipation and anxiety that come with Election Day, voters need to understand that instant results aren’t guaranteed this year. That’s not a reason for angst; that means a thorough, reliable process takes time.
So after you’ve done your part for democracy and have cast your ballot, remain calm and know your votes will be counted.
This editorial was updated Friday morning to reflect a federal court ruling indicating mail-in ballots received after Nov. 3 risk being invalidated.